Marou Amadou, Secretary General of the Collectif des Organizations de Défense des Droits de l’Homme et de la Démocratie (CODDH), an umbrella organization of human rights and pro-democracy groups, has been sentenced to ten months imprisonment. A court in Niamey sentenced Amadou on May 7, 2002 and also fined him 10,000 CFA francs for ‘contempt of court’.
Amadou was held for contempt of court after he told a judge that the demarcation between two villages locked in a local land dispute was arbitrary and contrary to a court ruling. The Judge considered Amadou’s statement contemptous and an afront to his decision. The same Judge who accused Amadou, tried him and sentenced him for ten months. He was taken to a civil prison. Amadou has appealed against the judgement.
The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) views the court’s decision as a flagrant abuse of incumbency and a calculated attempt to silence human rights defenders and free expression in Niger. The MFWA urges the government to unconditionally release Amadou and to desist from using the court to strangulate free expression.
The MFWA requests that you make your protest about the imprisonment of the human rights activist.